Lamet to make debut as Padres visit Mets
NEW YORK — Jacob deGrom’s emergence as the ace of the New York Mets and one of the best pitchers in the National League began with an unheralded debut at Citi Field in May 2014.
The San Diego Padres would be ecstatic in 2020 if they are looking back on Dinelson Lamet’s first major league appearance in a similar way.
Lamet makes his big league debut Thursday night when he opposes deGrom and the Mets in the finale of a three-game series at Citi Field. The Padres came back from a four-run deficit Wednesday to edge New York 6-5.
Lamet, who joined the Padres on Wednesday but will not be officially promoted until Thursday, will be pitching in the rotation spot formerly occupied by Jered Weaver, who is on the 10-day disabled list with left hip inflammation.
The 24-year-old Lamet earned the recall by going 3-2 with a 3.23 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 39 innings over eight starts for Triple-A El Paso. He is widely regarded as one of the Padres’ top 10 prospects.
“Good stuff, has a live arm,” Padres manager Andy Green said Tuesday. “He’s got the kind of stuff that can shut an offense down.”
Lamet’s two best pitches are a fastball and slider, so even the Padres wonder if his future home might be in the bullpen. But he added a changeup to his repertoire this year and enjoyed what Green called “quality outing after quality outing” at El Paso, where he’s allowed one run or fewer in six starts.
DeGrom was expected to pitch in middle relief for the Mets when he was promoted to the majors May 13, 2014. But he replaced the injured Dillon Gee in the rotation the next day and allowed one run over seven innings against the New York Yankees. DeGrom went on to win the National League Rookie of the Year and is 33-23 with a 2.83 ERA in his first 85 career starts. Only Hall of Famer Tom Seaver has a lower ERA among Mets pitchers who have made at least 85 starts.
DeGrom earned the win in his most recent start Friday, when he tossed seven shutout innings in the Mets’ 3-0 victory over the Los Angeles Angels. He pitched through a callus on his right ring finger in the seventh inning, but manager Terry Collins said Wednesday that deGrom is experiencing no ill effects from the ailment.
Collins will hope deGrom can get to rarefied air — the seventh inning — on Thursday. DeGrom is the only Mets starter in the last 22 games to record an out in the seventh inning.
The inability of Robert Gsellman to work deep into the game may have cost New York on Wednesday, when Gsellman allowed three runs over six innings before a quartet of relievers combined to cough up the lead in the seventh and eighth innings.
“This kid has really been struggling,” Collins said of Gsellman, who has a 6.45 ERA. “You want him to leave with a good feeling. He gave us six good innings.”
DeGrom is 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA in three career starts against the Padres.